CBCP Statement on the recent voting in the House of Representatives ending the debates on the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill
It was not supposed to happen. The agreement was to vote on August 7, 2012, when every side would have been ready and prepared to defend its cause as in any democratic setting.
Unfortunately, in a move remarkable in its stealth and swiftness, the ruling group of the House of Representatives, on August 6, 2012, managed to force a vote that terminated the period of debates on the RH Bill. It came a full day too soon, just when “no one was looking”. Except for the cabal of schemers, people were caught off-guard by the suddenness of the execution, especially those who oppose the Bill on faith or principle.
We are dismayed by the display of naked power. We lament the unilateral disregard of prior agreement in the pursuit of selfish goals. We detest the unbridled resort to foul tactics. We denounce the brazen disregard of the basic tenets of fair play and attempt to railroad the passage of the Bill. Not least, we question the surrender of legislative discretion to an intrusive President, reminiscent of the events leading to the impeachment proceedings.
The Catholic Church and those who are similarly minded ask for nothing more than fairness. After all, we have as much right to expose the dangers and ills of the Bill as those who promote it. So much is at stake in this fight for life: protection of women’s health against harmful contraceptives; preservation of parental authority over minor children; protection of the youth against valueless sex education; wrongful discrimination of the poor; wasteful disbursement of billions of pesos for contraceptives while many of the poor die of cancer, tuberculosis, dengue and other ailments without the benefit of medicine; suppression of dissent and civil liberties through threatened imprisonment and gradual annihilation of the Philippine race through systematic reduction of maternal fertility rate.
In the face of a well-funded campaign to have the RH Bill passed as envisioned by foreign institutions, and despite the undeserved attacks it is reaping, the Catholic Church stands firm in its resolve to fight this deadly measure at every turn and no matter the cost ― all for love of God, flock, and country.
We commend the bravery and dedication of legislators who continue to resist the Bill even at the risk of retaliation from the powers-that-be. To them go our blessing and the gratitude of the faithful. Their courageous and patriotic acts will be remembered long after the last debate had been waged and the final vote had been cast.
Finally, we urge all devoted Catholics to unite against the Bill. Intensify your prayers and let your voices be heard and your actions seen against this deadly measure. Truth is on our side. Developed countries with dwindling population are beginning to realize the folly of population control, and some, like Singapore, regret having adopted it. Most importantly, the Bill’s anti-life features go against our Constitution, our treasured traditions and the basic teachings of the Catholic Church as enunciated years ago by Pope Paul VI and Blessed John Paul II.
For and in behalf of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines,
+ JOSE S. PALMA, D.D.
Archbishop of Cebu & President, CBCP
13 August 2012